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The Gluten Dilemma

I hear more and more stories of family and friends discovering they are gluten intolerant. Recently I read that 1 in every 3 Americans share this dilemma and that 8 in 10 are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance. Wow!! This is truly an American epidemic. So, what do you need to know and how can you make simple changes to your diet to feel better?

1. Eat only sprouted or whole grains. Why? These grains aren't processed to remove the bran and germ of the grain where most of the nutrients reside. Our bodies know how to digest these whole grains. The processed form isn't recognized by our bodies and the large dose of carbs keeps us craving more. The endosperm of the grain, the part that is left after processing, is mostly carbohydrates and contains the gluten. If you have Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity, avoid all grains with gluten.

2. Know your grains. Be aware of what grains are gluten-free, like amaranth, brown rice, black rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, montina, oats, quinoa, sorghum, teff, and wild rice. This is important to know if you have Celiac Disease or are gluten intolerant. You will need to avoid all grains with gluten.

3. Avoid white processed breads, pastries and pastas. These products have less nutrients and are processed to maintain shelf life. Eat brown rice pasta or replace pasta with quinoa or rice. You can even buy a spiralizer and make zucchini or other veggie noodles. Kelp noodles are another option. There are many gluten-free alternatives out there, but focusing on whole foods and eating less processed foods will benefit your health most.

4. Snack on fruits, nuts and seeds. Summer is the best time of year to enjoy the abundance of colorful, hydrating and vitamin-rich fruits available. Try a fruit you've never eaten before and grab a handful of your favorite nuts to sustain you until your next meal. The fruit will help to hydrate you and the protein boost will curb your hunger.

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